15 May 2012 --- Keeping track of what we eat and choosing healthier foods could be made easier thanks to a consultation launched today on front-of-pack (FoP) nutrition labelling by the Food Standards Agency in both Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The consultation opens discussions with FSA partners over how we can achieve this through FoP nutrition labelling. Many food products sold in the UK already have some form of FoP labelling. However, different retailers and manufacturers have different ways of labelling, which can be confusing for consumers. Some use labels showing Guideline Daily Amount (%GDA), some use traffic light colour coding that highlights high fat sugar and salt content, and some use both. Research shows that a more consistent approach, used across all products, would make it easier for consumers to compare the nutritional information provided on the food they buy.
The FSA in Scotland and Northern Ireland is responsible for policy relating to nutrition labelling and, working with health ministers across the UK, the FSA is committed to providing consumers with information to help them make more informed food choices. This should help people improve their health, guard against risks, such as obesity, and conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Research indicates that one key way of providing this information is for all food manufacturers and retailers to use one clear system – on the front of packs – to show how much fat, salt and sugar, and how much energy is in their products.
New EU regulations on food labelling were introduced at the end of last year that require manufacturers and retailers to make many changes to their food labels. While providing front-of-pack information is voluntary under the regulations, every company that does so has to provide information about calories alone, or calories plus the amount of fats, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
The FSA’s Strategic Plan supports the Scottish Government’s Preventing Obesity Route Map and outcomes within A Fitter Future for All (the Framework for Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland, 2012-2022).